Saturday, March 31, 2012

Spaghetti and Tempeh-balls

I don't even know how to begin this post.
Last night, my roommate and I hosted our first dinner party. What can I say, besides the fact that our husbands are in for a treat--I mean, if we treat our friends this well, how much more will we lavish the men who promise us forever?
This Colorado March has been unseasonably warm; I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop--for a huge spring blizzard to ravage our trees and sprouting tulips, but it has yet to happen; in fact, it may not happen at all. Either way, we took advantage of the gorgeous evening and had dinner at dusk with a few friends. There was conversation, laughter, and the tangible potential for friendships to be had, kept, and treasured.

Oh, and food, of course.

 My roommate made meatballs for the first time; I cooked with tempeh for the first time, contributing meat-less-balls to the meal. Both were had and enjoyed by all of our guests, along with homemade spaghetti sauce, whole wheat french bread, and made-from-scratch chocolate cake.

The night was delicious in every way, and I just had to share it with you.

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend. Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Breakfast Scramble

The vegan breakfast scramble has become a staple for me. I love it because its super easy and fast, plus it allows me to use up some of the random things I sometime have left over from other recipes. I always seem to come up with things like, a hand full of spinach (not enough for a salad) or half a block of tofu, or a quarter of an onion, a ripe tomato, etc.

Today, that is exactly what I had! I also had the nub end of some gimme lean sausage (yum!) So, I threw it all together in a pan, added a little bit of garlic powder, chopped up some fresh fruit, and had brunch.

Honesty, I could eat this meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
 Let me know what you like to put in your breakfast scramble! 

- Megan 

St. Patty's Day - Vegan Corned Beef

I have to admit, I never ate corned beef as a meat eater, so I cannot honestly tell you if this resembled the real thing.

My Irish husband grew up eating it, and I am proud to say that he was impressed! The recipe can be found over at The Fat Free Vegan Kitchen.  I made a few adjustments (I always do, based on what I have on hand). I sliced a veggie burger to use as the "beef," and because I am not a huge fan of cabbage, it got left out. I only seasoned the potatoes with a little bit of oil and salt before popping them in the oven.

This dish was a great way for us to celebrate the holiday and I will definitely make it again next year! (Probably with even more adjustments!) I love starting new traditions, and since we won't drink the green beer, I'm keeping this recipe around for a while. I might even make this more than just for St. Patty's Day!

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Whole Wheat Pizza!

I think I'm going to have to make pizza at least once every couple of weeks. It's been decided.

Last night, I had some friends over for dinner; it ended up being one of the best social food events I've ever been to. We socialized over a couple bottles of wine, we ate, we laughed (hysterically, occasionally) and created memories that will not soon be forgotten. The pizza was one of the most beautiful dishes I've ever made and tasted even better--thanks to my baking stone!
It was my first attempt at pizza dough and, just as the recipe promised, it was amazing.

I topped it with homemade pizza sauce, mozzarella, goat cheese and sauteed mushrooms, garlic, red bell pepper, and spinach.

It was gone in no time.

And then...dessert.
Vegan, chocolate, raspberry, Kahlua cake. At first, it was just going to be vegan chocolate cake.  Every new idea made the cake better and better.
We decided to add the Kahlua after it was done baking. 

Then we decided we should drizzle it with dark chocolate. Then we decided that we should add homemade raspberry sauce to the topping.

And oh-my-gosh was that cake delectable. And easy!

Last night? Best St. Patrick's day ever--who says you have to go out to have a good time?


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Almond, Bean, Grain Burgers

Rewind back a week.
It's Friday night, I'm waiting for my roommate to finish up in the grocery store and I'm talking to my mom on the phone in my car. As usual, we're talking about our cooking plans for the weekend. She intends to make quinoa fritters--for, like, the third time! I told you she'd love them--and I tell her I intend on making Almond, Bean, Grain burgers.
She immediately sounds skeptical. "That sounds weird," she tells me.
If you knew my mother's cooking history, you'd understand why I scoffed at her reply. "You think it sounds weird? You have no room to speak."
"I know, I know--you're right," she concedes. But she's still not convinced about my burgers.

Well, this post is dedicated to my mother (here is where I insert a shameless plug: check out her homemade greeting cards, here.) Mom--I told you they'd be delicious!

My roommate and I had ourselves the perfect friday night meal--my veggie burgers, her sweet potato fries, and tasty wheat beer. to love a  night in with made-from-scratch deliciousness. Definitely give this burger a try. I found the recipe here. I didn't make the sauce, because I don't like strawberries. I put mustard on my bun and that was all I needed! (My roommate enjoyed hers with a bit of ketchup, and was equally satisfied!)

Now, fast forward to the present. Tonight, I plan on making my first homemade pizza dough. My mom got me a baking stone for my birthday (because she's so great!) and I'm going to break it in this evening. Hopefully all goes well. I'll try and blog about it tomorrow.
Then...if you don't hear from me for a while, it's because my freezer looks like this:
I've got some eating to do.
I was on the hunt for tempeh recipes just the other day and my roommate told me no--not until April. She's right...

Have a great weekend!


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Whole Wheat French Bread

As I type, my bread is baking. This is my second attempt at making french bread, and I think it's going to be far more successful than my last try--and because I'm feeling so confident, I've got this list of things I now want to make from scratch today.
There are a couple reasons why I think this recipe worked better than the last; first, because I broke down and bought some all purpose white flour (unbleached! Because, it makes me feel better that it's not whole wheat...) Also, I used yeast from a jar; I'm suspicious that the yeast I used out of a packet last time wasn't a fresh as the yeast I used today.
Anyway, my loaf is huge! And I love it. I hope it tastes as great as it looks. Here's the recipe. 

Adapted from Famous French Dessert's recipe.
2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
3 cups All Purpose White Flour
1 Egg
1 tbsp. Sugar
2 tsp. Salt
1 tbsp. Dry Active Yeast

1. Sift the two flours together into a large bowl (I would mix 2 cups whole wheat flour and 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, adding the extra 1/2 as needed). Mix in salt and sugar. Move the ingredients to the sides of the bowl, creating a large "well" (an empty space) in the middle.
2. Pour the yeast into the "well" and pour 2 cups of lukewarm water over the yeast. Sprinkle about 1 tbsp. of flour over top. Wait (about 10 minutes) for bubbles to appear in the yeast.
3. Once the bubbles have appeared, you can start to mix together the ingredients (hands work best) to form the dough. The best way to do this, is to gradually incorporate the flour that is "waiting" on the sides of the bowl. Doing it all at once will be too difficult. So, go bit by bit, if it's too liquid, just add a bit more flour at the end. You should finish this "pre-kneading" stage with a round, firm ball of dough. Again, if it's too sticky, add a little more flour.
4. Kneading: remove the bread from the bowl and place on a lightly floured surface. Knead it by pushing your palms into and then turning it one quarter. Keep kneading and doing quarter turns for about 5-10 minutes, or until the bread is supple and non-sticky.
5. Place the bread in a lightly floured bowl and cover with a damp dish cloth. Let it rise for about 2 hours (depends on the room temperature, you want it to be fairly warm). It should double in size.
6. Preheat oven to 400°F. Re-sprinkle a counter top (or other surface) with flour. Prepare a baking pan by lightly oiling and flouring it (or bake on top of parchment paper). With your hands, remove bread and place on floured surface. Knead and then flatten into a circle; fold over the edge, pressing the rim into the remaining dough; repeat, until you have a log and then pinch the flap with the bottom so that the dough is one piece. Roll back and forth the create a long loaf. Put the loaf on the pan. Cover with a dish towel and let rise for 30 more minutes. Using a sharp knife, cut diagonal lines across the top of the bread. Whisk the egg, and using a brush (or a teaspoon) coat the top of the bread. Put in oven and bake for 30 minutes (more or less, depending on how much you like it browned).

So, I tried a piece...yeah, I'm definitely going to have to toot my own horn on this one.
More on today's cooking adventures coming soon!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Spicy Tofu Stir-fry

It makes me happy when I'm craving something and I just so happen to have the ingredients to throw it together and satisfy my taste buds. Tonight--I wanted stir-fry. When the craving hit, I immediately mentally sorted through the contents of my fridge. Tofu, red bell pepper, onions, garlic; I knew my pantry housed some rice and some soy sauce and figured that those things tossed together would be sufficient for my recipe.

Then I thought of my roommate and fellow blogger (Follow her blog, A Fine Gourmance!). We had already made plans to stay in for the evening so inviting her to enjoy some of my stir-fry seemed like the appropriate thing to do. She was all for the idea and offered to supply the recipe with asparagus, sriracha, and stir-fry sauce. As soon as I got home from work, we got to cooking. Our collaboration in the kitchen resulted in the best possible outcome for the stir-fry I had been dreaming about all afternoon! It was delicious.

What I'm most proud of is how the tofu turned out. This was my first time cooking tofu for the sake of having tofu. All the other times that I've used it, I've hidden it--in cheesecake, in lasagna--it always ended up mushed in with other ingredients so you didn't even know it was there. Tonight, I wanted it to shine. I was surprised by how well it held up through the whole cooking process; and I'm happy to report that my first attempt at cooking tofu was a success. My roommate said, "I'm just so surprised by how delicious this tofu is; it's perfectly juicy, it's not dried out--it doesn't taste like rubber, which I've experienced before." That my friends is a high praise from a non-vegetarian.
Anyway, enough about me, here's the recipe!

Spicy Tofu Stir-fry

1 package of firm tofu
1/2 of an onion
1/2 of a red bell pepper
1 1/2 cups of chopped asparagus
1 carrot
3 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons Worchestire sauce
1 tablespoon Soy sauce
dash of ground mustard
dash of thyme
dash of black pepper
dash of crushed red pepper flakes
dash of basil
2 tablespoons stir-fry sauce
Olive oil (for frying)
Sriracha (to taste)
1 cup of rice

1. Drain the tofu of as much water as possible; marinate in the Worchestire sauce and a bit of sriracha--set aside while you cut onion, bell pepper, asparagus, carrot, and garlic. Set vegetables aside.
2. Start cooking your rice. (We used white rice, because my roommate has a ton she's trying to get rid of, but I'm sure it would be great over brown rice or--oh!--quinoa.)
3. Slice the tofu into strips for frying, fry in the olive oil until both sides are browned; set aside. (If you would like to have smaller chunks in your stir-fry, you can either cut them smaller before frying or after frying. I waited until after so that it would be easier to flip them their first time in the pan.)
4. Pour the soy sauce over the vegetables and then add the spices; mix well.
5. When the rice is just about done, sauté the vegetables and the tofu; add the stir-fry sauce. Cover the mixture for a few minutes in order to let the vegetables get soft.
6. When the carrots have softened to your liking, you're done! Spoon the vegetables over the rice, add a bit of sriracha for a little spice, and enjoy.

That's all for now!
Maybe tomorrow I'll blog about my french bread and cracker making adventures--we'll see...
Have a good night :)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Portobello Steak.

The other night I decided that we needed a little luxury to go with dinner. When I think of meat eaters eating steak, I think expensive, marinated, something the cook is proud of because they spend a lot of time on their own special recipe. Honestly, I never liked steak when I was a meat eater. I must have never had it cooked just right, or flavored to perfection. It was tough and I would have rather eaten just about any other slab of meat. Those days are long behind me, thankfully, but the idea behind a good steak is still there. The traditional meat and potatoes meal still beckons to me sometimes. This is why I am so thankful God gave me mushrooms (and sometimes, I am pretty sure he created them with me in mind).

To cook the perfect portobello steak you will need:

Whole portobello mushrooms
Vegetable broth
Yellow onion

I happened to have on hand a special blend of spices from The Savory Spice shop in Colorado Springs called Cantanzaro herbs which is made up of garlic, lemon peel, marjoram, basil, mediterranean thyme, rosemary, and oregano. All of these spices would be good alone or paired.

Start by sautéing the onions in the broth. When the onions are translucent and melt in your mouth juicy, add the portobellos and a little more broth if it has evaporated from the pan to prevent sticking. Cover the pan with a lid and let the whole thing simmer for about five minutes. Flip over the mushrooms and cook for another five minutes.

Plate the hot mushrooms and spoon a little of the broth and onions over the top. Serve the beautiful steak with baby potatoes and asparagus, steamed greens, or your veg of choice.

I am pretty sure this was one of my husbands favorite dinners I have made yet. I am pretty pleased.


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